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University Recognized Nationally for Supporting Transfer Students

By Edwin B. Smith

University of Mississippi

University of Mississippi student Kayla Satterwhite (left) gives directions to incoming transfer student Morgan Daily and her family. The university has been recognized for the seventh consecutive year by Phi Theta Kappa honor society for creating ways to support community college transfer students. Photo by Kevin Bain/Ole Miss Digital Imaging Services

As an incoming transfer student to the University of Mississippi, Morgan McCray initially found herself becoming overwhelmed with large class sizes and a rigorous course load.

But the senior public health major from Ridgeland found her way to academic and social success, thanks to the award-winning support she received from the university’s transfer student programs.

For a seventh consecutive year, UM has been recognized by Phi Theta Kappa honor society for creating ways to support community college transfer students. The university is among fewer than 200 colleges and universities nationally in PTK’s annual Excellence in Community College Transfer Honor Roll. 

Ole Miss is the only Mississippi university to be recognized seven years straight.

“The PTK Honor Roll acknowledges the university’s institutional commitment and investment of resources to support transfer students,” said Jody Lowe, director of admissions. “The award signifies the important role that transfer students play on our campus and recognizes the university’s desire to support those students during their time at the university.”

Applications were evaluated on engagement, collaboration, impact and achievements related to the transfer of community college students, as well as partnerships, support, admissions outreach, scholarships and financial aid, student engagement opportunities, and institutional priorities.

Lowe noted several significant milestones, events and activities led to this year’s honor.

“The university continues to offer some of the most competitive transfer scholarships nationally,” he said. “We offer an array of student organizations and student involvement opportunities for transfer students.

“We also work diligently with our community college partners, both in Mississippi and out of state, to ensure that we have strong partnership programs, transfer pathways and articulation agreements that make the transition to the university seamless and help students reach their educational goals in a timely manner.”

The number of dedicated staff serving transfer students, transfer living options and completion rates are all factors in the selection process. The university’s PTK alumni chapter is made up of Ole Miss students who have transferred from community colleges and were involved in the honor society.

“University faculty and staff assist students in building competitive resumes,” Lowe said. “Transfer students hold leadership roles on our campus, land competitive internships and win postgraduate scholarships.”

McCray, who completed her associate degree at Copiah-Lincoln Community College, is an IMAGE scholar, School of Applied Sciences ambassador, Luckyday ambassador, Luckyday transfer peer mentor, Jackson Free Clinic Ole Miss ambassador, Mississippi Rural Physicians Scholar and a student worker in the chancellor’s office. She credited the faculty, staff and services she has received since coming to Ole Miss.

“Susan Tyler, Anna-Lauren Heavener and Jody Lowe, all EDHE instructors, were vital to my transition,” she said. “I recommend all first-year students take an EDHE class. The personal relationships, networking skills and resources I have gained will last a lifetime.”

The Honor Roll institutions will be featured in the 2022 Phi Theta Kappa “Partners in Excellence” publication, which goes to higher education leaders nationally. They also will be recognized on PTK’s website.

The recognition program reflects the growing importance of transfers in helping the U.S. achieve its college completion goals and promotes further study and sharing of best practices, said Lynn Tincher-Ladner, CEO and president of the honor society.

“This award is so important because it is based on what students tell us they need from their transfer experience,” Tincher-Ladner said. “We are honored to recognize the colleges and universities working exceptionally hard to create stronger pathways to bachelor’s degree completion for all students.”

Phi Theta Kappa is the oldest and largest honor society recognizing students pursuing two-year degrees. It has more than 3 million members and nearly 1,300 chapters in nine nations.

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